Laser Mounted on Helicopter Blasts Target in Successful US Military Test

June 27, 2017 Updated: June 27, 2017

The U.S. military has successfully tested a laser weapon mounted on an Apache helicopter, according to a press release from Raytheon, the laser’s manufacturer.

The laser system blasted targets at various altitudes, speeds, and flight patterns, making it the first laser weapon to fire successfully from a rotary wing aircraft. According Raytheon, the successful test means that helicopters could soon be equipped with high powered lasers. 

An Apache helicopter with a mounted laser weapon. (Raytheon)
An Apache helicopter with a mounted laser weapon. (Raytheon)

In the test, the helicopter hit a stationary target one mile away. The data collected from the test can be used to further advance laser weaponry.

“Our goal is to pull the future forward,” said Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “This data collection shows we’re on the right track.”

Raytheon coupled the laser with an advanced targeting system, which acquired the target and helped aim the laser blast.

The United States already had an operational laser weapon installed on the USS Ponce warship.

The USS Ponce conducts an operational demonstration of the Laser Weapon System while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
The USS Ponce conducts an operational demonstration of the Laser Weapon System while deployed to the Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
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